One of the hottest topics for us is free camping, or freedom camping as some prefer to call it. This latter term is to dispel the myth that everyone who doesn’t stay in a caravan park is looking to camp for free, that’s not the case.
Now, I hope all of us have found a spot where we have ended up alone and legally camped away from everything. Pure peace. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, though. That ‘out there’ feeling can be disconcerting, but you can’t judge someone if their camping happiness is to be within the bounds of a caravan park once darkness falls. Take Deb O’Sullivan’s yarn in this issue.
Her childhood camping was spiced up by her mum’s warning to be “careful of axe murderers” … so she feels safe in her big bus. Deb and her family are now living full-time on the road and it appears that the more time you spend travelling, the more the reliance on a caravan park recedes as a result of three main factors: Familiarity with the great outdoors, improved camping set-up, i.e. more solar, battery and water capacity, and cost.
This whole camping thing costs. And that starts with your mobile accommodation. You choose what suits you and you can afford. Surely that should extend to where you would like to spend the night? The industry believes that free camping will kill the caravan park business model, and the free thinkers know that’s not the case.
The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) campaigns under the Freedom of Choice banner, in that, we should not be forced into regulated facilities, especially those that come with a hefty nightly charge to include extensive park amenities.
And the rapidly expanding caravan holiday sector is huge; worth billions annually. Australians love it. And the vast majority of vanners would never dream of being away from 240V, a water slide and cheap pizzas on Tuesday nights. And good on ‘em.
On the other side of the coin, $30 to $60+ per night long-term is an accumulative drain on travel resources that could be spent elsewhere, especially if you only need to hook-up to water and power, not induce vomiting on a jumping pillow. “It’s me knees, Marge.”
Enter showgrounds, council-sanctioned stopovers and private property as low-cost camping options. The latter is the focus in this issue’s big story. It’s a simple idea, to open up your farm to campers, however, it’s not, in fact. Mention: Development Application? But whereas we love to complain of our nanny states, we clamour to the legal vultures when we hurt ourselves, but refuse bandages of red tape. So where’s the middle ground to pitch upon? Have a read.
I’d love to hear your opinions.